Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the category “people planet profits”

You have only one try making a great first impression


You have only one try making a great first impression 

Foto credit: Pablo by Buffer

As a rambunctious adolescent I often proclaimed that how I look on the outside should not matter, not in school and definitely not in business. Well, I found out the hardest way that that is wrong. Your dress code does matter like you wouldn’t believe making your first impression on people.

In our society of today where just about anything goes as far as clothes (or the lack thereof), skin and body alterations and accessories etc are concerned you would believe that our outward appearance doesn’t matter much. Well it does. Let me share the experience of an airline pilot. I am paraphrasing what he shared with me while we were waiting at the gate for our flight to take off.

  • “When I wear my uniform everybody wants to talk to me. I can talk to just about everyone, because they want to talk to me.”
  • “Wearing my nice uniform lets me speak to beautiful women that would not give me a second look in my street clothes.”
  • “People assume that because I wear a pilot’s uniform, I belong with the big airline because the plane carries the logo of it. Not so at all, but they assume that anyway.”
  • “Wearing the uniform people are on their best behavior and usually extremely courteous.”
  • “People think just because I wear this pilot uniform that I am more educated than them. Does that really mean that?”
  • “A pilot’s uniform seems to suggest that I make so much more money than the average person. I make less than my brother in-law who is a truck driver. We are essentially on the road the same amount of time and to come to think of it I am just about doing the same job as him.”
  • “Sir, you wear a suit. I would think – just like any other person – that you are quite well educated and that you have a well-paying career.”

Fascinating, huh? Do not get sidetracked by what he said and that some of you may argue that his points of view may be questionable. The bottom line of all the comments is that our outward appearance (dress code) does matter. No matter how right or wrong the position may be, we will always be judged quietly by others. The others are the judge and the jury and the executioner all wrapped up in one.

Is it impossible to regain lost ground and get people beyond our first impression? No it isn’t, but it takes many an interaction to do that and if your first contact is all you’ve got, well, then what are you going to do? All you have is one time making a great first impression.

Ralf

 

PS: Here is a Wall Street Journal article (click here for reading the article) about how appearance doesn’t matter. That is only true when you are part of a tribe and a certain dress code / appearance is expected of you even though it may be viewed as intolerable by another social group.

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Authentic leadership will help attain and retain our Millennial workforce – Discover how to get in front of the coming tsunami hitting our work places


Authentic leadership will help attain and retain our Millennial workforce – Discover how to get in front of the coming tsunami hitting our work places 

Aren’t you getting increasingly sick about the overused phrase authentic leadership? Sure, I have used it here and there too. It was not until I read a few posts online that extensively harped on it before I finally got confused what this really means. More importantly, how can you learn and be authentic?

Along with this phrase come a few more buzz words that are also non-descriptive. The leader ought to be authentic, she should provide contagious energy, she should be engaging the audience’s senses, she should be demonstrating vulnerability and perseverance, she should be exuding confidence, she should be personable, she should be believable, she should be a great listener, and have a load of charisma if at all possible.

Isn’t it hilarious how these adjectives are very descriptive and yet meaningless as they are not really all that exact? It is all subject to individual interpretation and yet every one of us kind of sort of knows what it is supposed to be about. It is hard to pick up on the underlying driver of being authentic and that is helping and serving others. Not so fast though, because first of all a leader must first manage to be heard in the first place.

In short all of the above describe a state of being. As such it proves the adage of all nonverbal communication driving more than half of what people see and ultimately what they HEAR. Roughly a third is your tone of voice and only a small amount of communication is through the actual words that you have chosen to convey your leadership.

It is something that one has to experience personally in order to really understand it and how to learn it and then practice it daily. So what we are talking about here is appealing to the senses of our counterparts: Tone of voice, demeanor, mannerisms, facial expression, gestures, choice of words, etc.

To demonstrate this I have picked two random videos of CEO’s; not just any CEO, but airline ones. Just about all airlines claim how they love their customers and employees and invite us to fly their friendly skies. How does Delta’s own Richard Anderson strike you (Click here for the video)? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrZmgIaO7Hc Now compare this to Southwest president Colleen Barrett (Click here to watch her in action)? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BZw_TDCfek

Fascinating, isn’t it? When you unravel why Colleen is fairing so much better you may have noticed the traits that let her stand out:

  • She is totally focused on others and not herself.
  • She shows vulnerability by being moved by the contributions of her team members.
  • She makes the speech all about them and not herself.
  • She makes eye contact with her team members.
  • How many things can you point out?

Why is she so much more believableauthentic – than Richard? At the bottom line it shrinks down to one thing for me and I am hoping that I have stirred your snow globe a little with this again: It’s her servitude. How willing are you to serve others before yourself? Fascinating isn’t it? Leadership really has nothing to do with you at all.

She is going through great lengths making the event to be for her team members and not all about herself. That is so different with Richard. He sits in the middle of everyone’s attention and when you really listen to the customer conversation with him, even that sounds fake and forced.

Did I mention that this makes your more successful too? You have not heard about how greatly successful and admirable Delta Airlines is, right? There is a reason why they are where they are and why Southwest is such an admired and overall successful brand.

Surprising, isn’t it? Being an authentic leader boils down to serving others with your brain, heart, and soul; then it will become organic and long term sustainable. Parking your ego will be the first and most important step you can take. Don’t you like the simplicity of this concept?

Beware of Millennials looking for work places that provide a reason for them spending all of their time working there. The more you embrace the concept of progressively embracing authentic leadership (serving others before yourself), the greater the chance you will attain and retain this wonderfully talented workforce.

Ralf

“Think outside the box” and yet we go to work and school in one


“Think outside the box” and yet we go to work and school in one 

The term “thinking outside the box” stands for doing and thinking in unconventional ways. Step out of bounds and away from the beaten path. Away from routine and what is expected of you. Words like normally, usually, typically, or similar ones like it should not be used – “try something new and radical”.

And yet our routine looks so much different. Our schools and workplaces are placed in rectangular shoe boxes, with little to no natural lighting and even less high quality air. Slapped together to maximize the builder’s and architect’s profitability. Enabled by having harnessed energy to a point where we believe we control nature by being able to climate control our working and schooling habitats.

Rule of thumb here is a simple one: Nice 90 degree corners are good and so is routine and standardization. Where does that leave creativity and quality of life though? Over 70% of working folks would love nothing more than a new job or career because their working conditions and overall career management are below par.

At school this is even worse. Some school settings are outright industrial in where they are located and how the buildings are constructed. They seem to be designed to merely serve the purpose of providing future workers for companies that will then provide a very similar working environment as the newbies were used to from school: the box type building.

What is the antidote? Well, even though it may sound clichéd, but it sounds like our business and school leaderships need to be the first ones who need to think outside the box. Creating a lively and inspiring work and school environment does not take much as long as everyone involved starts from establishing a suitable vision and mission around this goal. Then the tough work starts. Thinking concepts like this through will take time. With great preparation the final product will take a lot less hard work.

One such building (watch the background story here and here is the green building explained) is the one at Aerzen USA. The intense grass roots efforts of a few folks turned into a movement that keeps catching on.

Now think about our children and how they deserve a similar inspiring environment. If we want them to be able to think and act outside the box, let’s help getting them out of the truly boxy type schools of today. Here are two examples (Avon Grove and Kimberton) how some schools have already begun making changes for the better.

Ultimately the choice is always yours and this is neither my time nor place convincing you of anything. But think about if you and your contributions are only a mere SAT score, or some other number. If so, a shoebox building will do. If not, then please help for us all to start acting outside the box – and yes this pun is intended.

Ralf

Nothing is ever truly communicated until it’s fully understood


The secret of making your point in presentations Ralf a

 

Have you ever struggled explaining something you are passionate about to other people and even after you enthusiastically explain it you get nothing but a glazed eye stare back? Frustrating, isn’t it? The problem of people not understanding you is pervasive – especially in business. A big percentage of issues are because we listen to respond and rarely listen to understand. The by far more important problem is that the people do not where they have skin in the game. There is no connection with what they do, who they are, and where they are going. With no value seen by your audience you can be as passionate as you can be, and yet, at the end there will be no tangible action following your presentation. Bottom line is that as long as you do not convey information in a way that your audience feels like will provide value, you are wasting your time.

 

So what can you do? About two years back I was invited on a radio show to tell the audience about my company’s management and sales philosophy. We have been very successful and our employees as well as close business partners totally see the value in collaborative management also known as triple bottom line management. I was so enthusiastic about it and yet….. it totally tanked. Here is the interesting result of the interview on Kristin Tews’ Personal Best show, (click here for the interview starting at minute 40 of the podcast, it’s the one dated 10/13/2013). I failed the same way in a “Unconference” at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business school where I led a mini workshop on the Triple Bottom Line company management style. One of the attending professors called what I presented to them “Utopian” and an utter theoretical exercise. Ahh! Well, welcome to Utopia I thought to myself as I knew that not only was it possible to lead a business this way, but we had been tremendously successful. Where had I failed. I pondered this for a good old while and finally sunk in to me that I had totally failed hitting business leaders where they would start paying attention. I failed to connect what kind of cost such an initiative would incur and what measurable benefit would come out of it.
As of late I learned my lesson and I learned it well. Now I dedicate time and slide space to how collaboration leads to a greater team member engagement and how that is measured on the SINGLE bottom line. Yes, the loosy-goosy employee engagement can be measured in form of revenue per employee, EBITA per employee, count of non-conformities, number of corrective actions, etc. Now I have the attention of the key business leaders and I can finally go over explaining the details of how to implement collaborative triple bottom line management.

Bottom line (no pun intended) is that if you want to impact your audience (your listeners) such that action follows and they at least understand what you want to communicate then you had better understand what their key motivators are. Only when you speak to how your audience will be impacted with what your are speaking about will they take action.

Ralf

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